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Shona Robison: Queen’s Speech is missed opportunity to tackle cost of living

Shona Robison said the Queen’s Speech was a missed opportunity (Fraser Bremner)
Shona Robison said the Queen’s Speech was a missed opportunity (Fraser Bremner)

The Queen’s Speech is a “missed opportunity” to tackle the cost of living crisis, Scotland’s Social Justice Secretary, Shona Robison, has said.

Responding to the UK Government’s annual legislative agenda, Ms Robison said bold action was needed to tackle inflationary pressures.

She said the Energy Bill, which will extend the energy price cap, was “long overdue”.

Ms Robison said: “The cost of living crisis is impacting every household in the UK and there are families struggling right now but yet again, there is no help for them.

State Opening of Parliament
The UK Government set out its legislative agenda (Ben Stansall/PA)

“We have repeatedly urged the UK Government to match our level of ambition and take urgent action to address the cost of living crisis and spiralling energy costs.

“Unfortunately, today’s Queen’s Speech was a missed opportunity, with a lack of details and clear commitments to provide adequate support to households facing hardship right now.

“The UK Government holds most of the powers required to tackle fuel price rises – both in the immediate and longer term – and the planned Energy Bill is long overdue.

“There has been little engagement with the Scottish Government on this legislation so we need more details of how it will help tackle the energy crisis.”

Scottish Conservative Conference
Alister Jack said the Queen’s Speech ‘delivers for Scotland and the UK’ (Michal Wachucik/PA)

She continued: “The UK Government cannot stand by. They must take bold, radical action before people are forced into poverty.”

Earlier, the Scotland Office announced that of the 38 Bills in the Queen’s Speech, 27 applied in part or in full to Scotland.

This includes the Brexit Freedom Bill, which creates new powers to strengthen the ability to amend, repeal or replace retained EU law by reducing reliance on primary legislation.

It also includes the Transport Bill, which will create powers for a new body called Great British Railways to replace Network Rail as the operator of railway infrastructure.

Scottish Parliamentary Elections 2021
Maggie Chapman said the Queen’s Speech did not offer meaningful answers to the climate crisis (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, said: “This is a Queen’s Speech which delivers for Scotland and the whole of the UK.

“Measures in the Queen’s Speech will help us grow our economy, so we can continue to recover from the pandemic, tackle the rising cost of living and level up across the country.

“We will bring in a range of measures to make our country safer, from tackling state-sponsored espionage, to cracking down on modern slavery.

“We will show leadership with a series of ambitious reforms which will support citizens across the United Kingdom.

“We will continue to maximise the benefits of Brexit with legislation to cement our fantastic trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, and remove outdated EU laws. Outside of the EU, the UK will continue to prosper and thrive.”

Responding to the Queen’s Speech, Scottish Green MSP, Maggie Chapman, said: “Beneath the pomp and pageantry, this speech offered more of the same failed Tory policies that have already done so much damage.

“It offered nothing to meaningfully address the climate crisis and nothing to help the millions of people facing the cost of living crisis, having to choose between heating their homes or feeding their families.

“The situation is urgent, and we need bold and transformative action. But what Downing Street is offering is more cuts and austerity, an energy strategy that will not go nearly far enough, repressive restrictions on the right to protest and an even more hostile environment for refugees.”

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